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Thousands of people in Quebec are scrambling to get vaccinated among the city’s new mandate, and it’s not because of the sweeping surge of the Omicron variant.

According to the New York Daily News, Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dube announced on Jan. 6, that citizens would be required to show proof of vaccination in order to enter and purchase from government-owned liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. After the mandate was announced, health officials saw a massive uptick in vaccine appointment requests averaging 1,500 per day. The number of appointments swiftly increased to 6,000 within that same week. Dube believes that the new rule will help to curtail the spread of COVID-19 by limiting where unvaccinated people can frequent.

“If the unvaccinated aren’t happy with this situation, there is a very simple solution at your disposal,” Dube said during a press conference, the outlet reported. “It is to get vaccinated. It’s free.”

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The mandate will officially go into effect on Jan. 18. The province has also issued a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew with the hopes of slowing down transmission rates. According to Newsweek, the new rule will apply “to state-run Crown Corporations, Societe des alcools du Quebec (SAQ) and Societe quebecoise du cannabis (SQDC)”– the only government-owned establishments in Quebec where residents can purchase both alcohol and marijuana. Currently, Quebec requires people to present proof of vaccination when entering healthcare facilities, indoor sports venues, movie theaters, bars, and nightclubs, Complex noted. Children under the age of 13 are exempt from the policy.

While 78 percent of Quebec is fully vaccinated, the province is still seeing a widespread number of cases. The Washington Post reported that Quebec’s seven-day average for new cases hit roughly 40,000 around Jan.7.  Quebec is home to Montreal, Canada’s second-biggest city by population.

 

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